Environmental factors that influence human growth and development in Childhood are divided into two broad categories. They are intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic has to do with elements related to the internal physical activities such as functioning of the organs and systems. Precisely, cognitive development is concerned with their mental disposition. It denotes how well they reason, interpret, understand, analyze, differentiate and distinguish based on their physical growth. Babies do not display any of these cognitive attributes when they are born. However, as the brain begins to develop they became obvious and are recognized as products of the mind. Theoretically, extrinsic is linked to all factors outside of the body which play an important part in the formation of cognition. This analysis will incorporate impacts of both intrinsic and extrinsic elements occurring within and outside of the home environment.
Part 1–In the Home
Often a home environment consists of mother, father and children if it is a nuclear family structure. In extended family relationships there may be grand parent or parents, in-laws; step children; aunts and uncles or even someone sharing a room. Other family groups consist of a single parent with grandparent or same sex unions.
Childhood cognitive development is the designated period from birth to late adolescence. There are many theoretical assumptions to explain cognition in children as it pertains to what is acceptable or unacceptable. Erickson’s assumption of psychosocial development defines stages in which the personality of a child adjusts to both internal and external environments because of both social and physical effects. (Stephens, 1983).
Within the home Erickson accounts for hope, will, purpose; competence and fidelity. He encapsulates this into trust versus mistrust; autonomy and shame and guilt; initiative versus guilt; industry versus inferiority and identity versus role confusion. (Stephens, 1983).
While these clasp hands with sociology in that they involve social interaction, the psychology lies in personal struggles of the mind to make sense of its environment within a social context. It has been said that man is a product of his environment therefore; the effect of environment on personality inevitably is displayed in the way these developmental tasks are successfully manipulated by the child.
It has also been said that children learn what they live. As such, a stabled home environment where parents are loving; kind to each other; grand parents interact positively with parents; intelligent conflict resolution strategies are practiced and healthy habits are encouraged the psychosocial development would tend to be pleasurable. On the other hand if adversity is prevalent there may be some degree of difficulty adequately moving from one stage to the next.
Therefore, environmental factors of childhood cognitive development in the home largely impinge on the quality of parent child relationships, interactions with siblings or self if siblings are absent and interpretations of society looking from inside out.Piaget posits that cognitive development as it relates to the environment is demanding that children perform at a very much higher level intellectually once they have attained the mental capacity through physical development to do so.( Vidal, 1994)
Hence, parents expect that toddlers do not only speak, but reason as against a babe who may simply stare without direction and babble words that are not understood. Within that very structure language interpretation and accent are learnt and expressed. It has always caught the attention of psychologist how language does not have to be taught to children. This is derived from the internal environment of the home and the intrinsic biological factors which underlies them.
The complexity of language formation in children had its traditional routes in genetic factors. However, studies overtime have proven that there are unexplained occurrences in language expression resulting in is extreme difficulty establishing boundaries between social factors influencing language formation and internal genetic predispositions. Therefore, the home can be accredited for a child’s language expression as being the environmental factor responsible for this cognitive development.
Part 11: Outside of the Home
Environmental Factors of Childhood Cognitive Development in relation to outside of the home influences point towards the child’s interaction with day care staff; peers at school; religious organizations; sports and all institutions that impact on social life. Social psychologists have developed theoretical assumptions to explain the impact of society on cognitive development in the child.
Horton Cooley, George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blumer theorized that people react or respond to symbols based on meanings. (West, 2010). Children learn meanings of words from inside the home. These meanings are transferred into their interaction with symbols outside of the home environment into the wider society.
Precisely Colley argues that the social self is derived from interaction with society as a student, friend, boy, girl, passenger, pedestrian what ever names are given to roles which have to be enacted. Cognition forms the basis of determining the level of intelligence the child displays as various roles are played.
The emphasis then on cognition as learning styles are expressed is evident that outside of the home it means far more than expectations of in-home strategies. For example it may be acceptable to count numbers in a sequence of one to a hundred at age three or four. However, when the same child in placed into a formal educational structure with the demands of counting backward ; multiplying, adding, subtracting and dividing being evident, then other cognitive skills are realized.
It is important to note that while inside of the home influences of childhood cognitive development is essential, it cannot be the only source of cognitive development. Environments outside of the home develop cognitive skills that are consistent with creating sociably acceptable behavior.
If a child remains in the home and never has the opportunity to face issues in the world research has disclosed that cognitive development will be inhibited. With reference again to Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development there would be no scope for the development of hope, will, purpose; competence and fidelity to be encapsulates into trust versus mistrust; autonomy and shame and guilt; initiative versus guilt; industry versus inferiority and identity versus role confusion. (Stephens, 1983).
Attention should also be given to how environmental factors such as devience affect cognitive development. Psychologist argue that behavioral dysfunctions begin in the home, but one can safely say that outside into the wider society there are definitions of ghettos, suburban, urban and even exclusive neighborhoods.
A child’s cognitive development detects these abnormalities outside the home and either interprets them as being part of the problem or solution. Here is how external environmental influences play a major role in designing cognition rather than developing it. From a personal paradigm cognitive development when related to the environment outside of a home setting is not limited to exceptional thinking skills as high IQ. More importantly, it is expression of refinement in character through application of values.
Vidal, F. (1994). Piaget before Piaget. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Stevens, R. (1983). Erik Erikson, An Introduction. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
West, R. Symbolic interaction theory. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2010. Print.
At Home Effects